Aston Villa vs Everton – Match preview and prediction

Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish is expected to give on-loan LA Galaxy striker Robbie Keane his debut against Everton in a middle of the table clash between two sides separated by just a point.

The 31 year old Irishman has made his move to Villa Park on a seven-week loan deal and subject to international clearance, Keane will be involved in the squad to face the Toffees. Villa striker Emile Heskey has been sidelined for a month with an Achilles injury and the Republic of Ireland captain is expected to replace Heskey in the squad. Keane’s Irish teammate Shay Given is back after a six week lay-off with a hamstring problem, but McLeish is still without defender Carlos Cuellar and Chris Herd. Villa have lost six of their last eight matches at Villa Park and were beaten comfortably by newly promoted Swansea in their last outing. McLeish has faced criticism from Villa fans for his tactics this season, but the signing of Keane has shown his intention to increase their goal tally.

Everton are also struggling for goals and were beaten 2-0 at White Hart Lane against Tottenham in the Premier League. The Toffees were also beaten 2-1 by Bolton at Goodison Park two games ago, which ended a four match unbeaten run and they are looking to get back to winning ways at Villa Park. Keane’s LA Galaxy teammate Landon Donovan has also been brought to the Premier League on loan at Everton and the two will be reunited on Saturday. Everton have serious defensive worries and are without Sylvain Distin following his hamstring injury against Spurs as well as Phil Jagielka, Tony Hibbert and Seamus Coleman. Young defender Shane Duffy, recently recalled from League One side Scunthorpe United, came on for the French centre-back at Spurs and is expected to be used again at Villa Park.

Both sides are looking to push into the top half of the table, but with the serious lack of goals within either side, it is difficult to see past a draw. Keane and Donovan will be civil before kick-off at Villa Park, but both will be eager to get three points for their new sides.

See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Aston Villa v Everton

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